ABAB Survey on Gov.UK
The CIOT has responded to a consultation, published by the Scottish Government in October 2016, on draft regulations modifying the functions of the Scottish Fiscal Commission, which will become a statutory body with effect from 1 April 2017.
The CIOT response notes that the Commission will have an expanded remit from 1 April 2017, both as a result of these regulations and the Scottish Fiscal Commission Act 2016. It is therefore essential that the Commission is properly funded and resourced, to ensure it can fulfil its remit and provide the independent scrutiny needed as part of a robust fiscal framework.
The regulations serve to add further functions in order to reflect powers devolved through the Scotland Act 2016 and the content of the Fiscal Framework agreement. We agree with the addition of a social security forecasting function and agree with the approach in respect of onshore GDP forecasts. No changes to the remit are required however in order for the Commission to produce forecasts of revenue in the light of the increased income tax powers that take effect from April 2017.
There is a question on impacts on such areas as human rights, businesses, sustainable development and privacy. In respect of privacy, we recognise the need for the sharing of anonymous aggregate data. In principle, we agree that aggregate data, which cannot be manipulated in order to identify specific individuals, should be able to be disclosed, provided sufficient public benefit has been identified. We raise a concern that sophisticated modelling techniques could result in the identification of specific individuals, even from anonymous aggregate data. Where aggregate data is shared with specific third parties therefore, sufficient deterrents and safeguards should be present.
The Scottish Government will have some time to consider responses before laying the final legislation in early 2017 ‚ the intention is for the regulations to take effect on 1 April 2017.